I am going to write a basic 4 part guide to general razz poker strategy over the next few days that will include an beginners, intermediate and advanced guide to strategy. There are a few basic things that players should keep in mind, particularly about razz poker. Razz is a game that is not as well known as many other poker games. Just this fact alone suggests that there will be fewer people to play against in poker rooms.
When there are fewer people in play, then you can get to know certain players better and write notes on them. By doing this, you can keep track of different kinds of players over a long time and take advantage of various player times to become more profitable in the long term. Also, there are many inexperienced players that are just trying out razz poker to see what the game is like and this is another profitable advantage if you use this fact in your strategy.
One of the main strategies that you will learn in razz poker is to steal the pot and get players out of the game quickly. The reason behind this strategy is the fact that razz poker is a game of high variance. Because players are dealt 7 cards, there is a higher chance of them getting a decent hand by the end of the round. You are less likely to win if there are many players during the last round of betting before the showdown. Also, you can take advantage of the fact that 5 rounds of betting usually requires a lot of money to be invested into the pot and many players do not want to commit to doing this after only a 3 card starting hand.
So the goal is to bluff and steal the antes and bring-in bet early in the game. Keep out the “chasers” who are trying to get to the end without betting much and catching a powerful hand later on. This high variance property of razz ensures a high probability that these chasers will “catch” their high ranking hand. So get these players out early on 3rd street (when the 3 cards are dealt on the starting hand) either by bluffing or raising them. You will find that the strategies will mostly all revolve around these concepts.